View Full Version : What to look for?

10-29-07, 06:30 PM
What should you look for in a good therapist? I currently do not go to therapy but have been thinking about it. Not sure where to start or what to look for. Is a male or female better? What sort of qualifications should I be looking for?

10-29-07, 07:26 PM
I never really looked at the qualifications of my psychiatrist. I made my original appointment with him because I know several other people who said he was really great. He's an older man and for me I could tell him almost anything in the world about my life and the expression on his face never changed. There was one point in our conversations where he asked me if I was ever going to get married...i was like no I'm going to die a rich old spinster...his only response was there are worse things I could be. He's big on letting people figure things out for themselves...thinking it through and he loves to be a part of the process. He actually cares and that means a lot to me. I've only had 3 sessions with him, but I could not be happier with my choice. It all depends on you really...I wanted someone who was caring and listened without judgement or weird looks that seem like judgement. That's exactly what I got.

10-29-07, 07:42 PM
Psychiatrist I have covered. That requires an MD. I am looking for a therapist. Thanks for the info though. LOL, dounds like you found a good pdoc! I like the "die a rich old spinster" LOL

10-29-07, 08:45 PM
Oh, I wasn't aware there was really a difference. He covers both for me then...*shrugs* he's never mentioned me going to anyone else. The same would still apply for any person I want in my life that has any significant input and could possibly influence my decisions.

10-29-07, 11:25 PM
It depends on what you are looking for or what you hope to get out of Therapy/Counseling. Maybe start by making a list of a few things you want. I don't think any of us can answer the question about gender. That depends on who you would relate to better.

10-30-07, 12:34 AM
re: 1

It depends what the issues are. Lots of kinds of therapists, lots of kinds of issues.

10-31-07, 03:24 AM
I only do well with men doctors. I hear a woman's voice and kinda tune out. I feel like I am being lectured by my mother. That's a me-thing though.

Someone who speaks clear english (had one from Poland or something, awful. spent half my time re-explaining myself.)

Matt S.
10-31-07, 09:17 AM
What QueensU_Girl said, depending on your needs, one could be good for you whereas the other could be bad.

11-07-07, 03:13 AM
Ultimately there is no way to know without trying, but there are things you can do to increase your odds of finding a good match. EAP programs at work will usually let you see a therapist once and if you wish to change you can, and that first session will not count. Most (not all) medical insurance will let you change at any time (I used to work for one of the country's largest mental health insurance companies). Finding the right fit is critical, so do some shopping, and don't be afraid to change if it doesn't feel right.

If you call your insurance for a referral, the person on the phone may just give you the name of the first person who pops up on their computer screen if you are passive. But each therapist has information inside the insurance company's computer file that might be important to you. So ask. For example, you find the therapist specializes in women's issues but not men's issues (code for prefers to work with women). "Works with AD/HD adults," maybe a good idea if AD/HD is a big part of why you are going. There will be a number of categories (phobias, abuse, PST, AD/HD, eating disorders, etc) where it should be possible to find out if the therapist has particular expertise and experience. Most insurance companies will give you just one therapist name unless you ask for more; you should expect to receive at least 3 names if you are firm in your request. Odds are at least one will be worth trying.

Whether you have insurance or not, any decent therapist is going to be willing to talk with you fairly extensively on the phone before you visit (after all they want to make the sale, and I mean that in a postive way). On the phone you have the chance to explain your issues and ask them how they would approach them, and what methods and tools they might employ. If the answers sound wierd, or if you just don't like the sound of their voice (you are going to have to listen to the therapist's voice quite a bit so it is completely valid) don't make an appointment. Call the next name on your list or get a new name.

I guess what it comes down to for me is finding someone that just seems to "get me" and with whom talking together seems natural an unstrained. If I feel myself not being genuine with this person, it is a sign that I am not with the right therapist and I then look for one I feel more comfortable with. I have gone into therapy 3 times in my life, each time the first therapist was not a match, but the second or third was. Finding the right person is definitely worth the extra effort.

Whether you decide to go into therapy or not, good luck to you in finding resolution for whatever is it that's on your mind.

11-15-07, 01:36 PM
You have to be willing to try a few in order to find someone that works for you.

I ADORE my therapist. I found her after I met with a health professional whose job it was to refer people to therapists...kind of like a matchmaker. I'm not sure what the official title for this occupation is, but meeting with this person worked for me!

Do you have any friends in therapy that can refer you to someone? I think oftentimes word of mouth is the best bet. I agree that just calling up your health insurance and finding someone in your area can be a recipe for disaster. You never ever know what you're going to get.

Also, check with your psychiatrist! If you like them, they may be able to recommend someone good!